Fabrication of Cermet Nuclear Fuels Designed for the Transmutation of Transuranic Isotopes
The Uranium Extraction (UREX) family of processes uses solvent extraction techniques designed to partition spent uranium and transuranic (TRU) isotopes from fission product waste. Once separated, the collective TRU elements (Np, Pu, Am, and Cm) can be recycled in advanced nuclear energy systems. A zirconium matrix cermet is proposed as a fuel form for this application. Processing methods have been designed to convert the TRU product and spent Zircaloy cladding into feed materials for the hot extrusion of the cermet fuel pins. The TRU conversion process is being developed using a surrogate mixture of uranium and cerium nitrate solutions to generate mixed oxide microspheres. The Zircaloy recovery process is a hydride-dehydride method that is being demonstrated at the bench scale. The powder products from these methods may be combined through hot extrusion into a cermet composite; demonstration experiments using zirconium powder and zirconia microspheres have been completed.
Young Won Chang, Nack J. Kim and Chong Soo Lee
S.M. McDeavitt et al., "Fabrication of Cermet Nuclear Fuels Designed for the Transmutation of Transuranic Isotopes", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 561-565, pp. 1733-1736, 2007